By MRS. JOHN NOBLETT
An almost-constant wind fromthe mouth of Big HornCanyon bathes a rectangular benchlandwhere almost-forgotten Fort C, F.Smith once stood.And it probably would be incomplete oblivion, save for theBig Horn County Federation ofWomen's Clubs. A marker was erected at theC. F. Smith site,some 40 milessouth of Hardin,though indomit-able efforts of the clubwomen,who also placedmarkers on each side of the Little Big Horn River six miles west of Wyola. These fixed the spotwhere the Bozeman Trail crossed the creek. The Fort Smith marker stands beside the old trail and
its crossing of the Big Horn River.Four women's clubs participated in the marker projec those at Hardin, Crow Agency,Lodge Grass and Wyola, witheach club assuming a specific duty.
Dedicated in 1933 The Hardin club fixed the date of dedication (Sept. 4, 1933) and arranged the program. The CrowAgency unit obtained permissionto erect the marker.
The Lodge Grass group plannedworkmanship and selected type
of stone. The Wyola Club arranged to secure a bronze tablet, by the Anaconda Company.
Native stone was obtained from the canyon.
Fort C.F. Smith
(Crow Indian Reservation)
(1866 - 1868), Fort Smith
Originally called Fort Ransom. The state's first Federal fort, it was built to protect the Bozeman Trail. Besieged for six months in 1866 - 1867 during the "Hayfield Fight" in which 31 soldiers held off 800 Cheyennes. The stockaded fort was abandoned according to treaty. The actual site is on private property, but tours can be arranged at the Yellowtail Dam - Fort Smith Visitors Center.
Wyola was a small, vibrant town in 1910, I graduated from Wyola Grade School in 1949. It was a different world. We finally got electric lights, there was no TV. What a thrill it was to be able to read at night with our electric lights and not some kerosene lamp.
If people needed help, their neighbors were there to help. Our parents were called by townspeople if they saw us down town during the school day. (buying Double Bubble gum at the Wyola Merchantile) owned at that time by Lynn and Bert O’Byron.
There was one restaurant in town, Mrs. Agees Cafe.
What a treat to eat there.
If you grew up here or any place in Big Horn County, please email Jo Ann [email protected]
The Women’s Club was very active in the community. It provided help to the
school, community and church.
This is a story of one of the first woman to join the Women’s Club.
Watch this page, many, many more pages coming from the Womens club.
LaVere Graham Miller contributes:"I don't know when the club was started.I just remember that it was in 1948 that Mrs. Ben Belken sponsored me for
membership. That was in the days when the antiquated system prevailed about
submitting a name, meeting the candidate, and voting on her still was in style.I was so afraid they wouldn't accept me.
I also remember Mrs. Belken telling me about the fact that she remembered the times that she saddled her horse and rode the ten miles or so to attend a meeting.
It was an all-day affair, as you can imagine.
The minutes and plaques, etc. are at the Historical Center in Hardin.
The Woman's Club movement is still dear to my heart. I am still serving
for two more years as Historian for the Montana Federation. I write an article
about every two months for the magazine called "THE WAY WE WERE".
Would welcome historical data from anyone living or growing up in these towns in BHC. e-mail webmaster.
Wyola First Baptist Church.
still a very busy, vibrant church. I visited the church a Sun. in July. What a very special service
complete with joyous music and the final prayer in crow which I could still follow most of
the words.(Jo Ann Boyd Scott)
In the “old days” the second house
used to be owned by Jim and Hazel
McGovern and Starina.
BIG HORN COUNTY TOWNS
Jo Ann if questions
Welcome to Big Horn County, TRAILS TO THE PAST.